Pyongyang: The handover of power in North Korea to Kim Jong Il's young son appeared to be going smoothly, with official media calling him the "outstanding leader" and no outward unrest in the capital or troop movements along its borders. (Agencies)
Foreign governments have focused intense scrutiny on North Korea since Kim's death was announced Monday because of concerns over his untested heir's rise in a country with a nuclear programme, 1.2-million strong military and a history of deep animosity toward its neighbours.
But the capital remained a scene of mourning – not protest – on Thursday. US and South Korean military officials said there had been no unusual military movements by the North Koreans in recent days.
"This appears to be a relatively smooth transition on the peninsula, and we hope it stays that way," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in Washington, adding that there has been no increase in force protection levels for US troops in South Korea.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak sought to assure Pyongyang that his country was "not hostile," despite putting its front-line troops on alert since Kim's death was announced.
South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Yoon Won-sik said North Korea's military isn't showing any particular movement and that the South's troops are operating normally despite the alert.
In a clear signal to North Korea's people and the outside world, the North's main newspaper Rodong Sinmun in a lengthy editorial urged the country to "rally, rally and rally behind great comrade Kim Jong Un and faithfully uphold his leadership."
It called him "the outstanding leader of our party, military and people and a great successor."
Ratcheting up the personality cult it builds around the Kim family, North Korea claimed that Kim Jong Il's death generated a series of spectacular natural phenomena, creating a mysterious glow atop a revered mountain, cracking a sheet of ice on a lake with a loud roar and inspiring a crane to circle a statue of the nation's founder before perching in a tree and drooping its head in sorrow.
Dramatic scenes of mourning in the capital have continued nearly nonstop since Monday's announcement of Kim's death, which the government says happened two days earlier when he suffered a massive heart attack while on a train.
Mourning sites have been arranged in provincial, city and county seats and institutions and enterprises across the country.
Pyongyang: The handover of power in North Korea to Kim Jong Il's young son appeared to be going smoothly, with official media calling him the "outstanding leader" and no outward unrest in the capital or troop movements along its borders.